The story focuses on Leonard, who aged 10 travels to England with his mother from Jamaica to join his father and begin a new life. The year is 1958 and Leonard is a Windrush Child. The disappointments of the cramped chilly conditions of Leonard’s new home in Manchester in contrast to the warmth, beauty, freedom and happiness of life on his island home are obvious in the opening chapters. In particular, Leonard misses his grandmother who means so much to him. He encounters racism and violence both directed at his father and to himself. We follow his experiences, and the ups and downs of this change and the stresses it places on his parents’ marriage. We witness Leonard growing up and finding happiness which is cruelly shattered when he unsuccessfully applies for a passport so that he can visit his now elderly mother who has returned to Jamaica.
This story is historical fiction highlighting the lived experiences of the Windrush generation from the perspective of a child growing up. Through Leonard’s story readers learn the motivation for migration to England and gain insight into the life of an immigrant. In particular, the story highlights the appalling treatment of many of the Windrush generation as a result of the hostile environment policy. Many individuals were shocked to find their UK citizenship was not recognised after making the UK their home and contributing so much.
Written by acclaimed poet, author and playwright Benjamin Zephaniah this book is endorsed by Amnesty International, and is one of a series from Scholastic entitled Voices reflecting untold stories.